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St. Louis Public Library

St. Louis, Missouri, USA

Photo Credits: Images courtesy William Tao & Associates, Inc. Lighting Design

Public library brightens its image


Public libraries are the perfect place for people of the community to learn about the past, experience the present, and become inspired about the future. When directors of the St. Louis Public Library wanted the Central branch to become more appealing to the public, they illuminated both the inside and outside of the library with LED lighting fixtures from Color Kinetics. Now, stunning architectural details are beautifully lit and more pleasing to the eye, drawing more people into the building and making them feel welcome once they arrive.

The St. Louis Central Library has been a cornerstone in the community since it was built in 1912 by architect Cass Gilbert. To celebrate its 100th year anniversary, the library underwent major renovations. The lighting designers, Mark de La Fuente and Steve Andert of William Tao & Associates, sought to emphasize the buildings classic shapes in a contemporary fashion. The objective of the new design was to infuse lighting throughout the building's exterior architecture to create an iconic nighttime presence and to draw patrons into the building. For the interior, designers wanted to create a welcoming and warm Great Hall and lobby area with the use of strategically placed white lights.

LED lighting solutions were chosen because of their ability to incorporate easily into the existing façade — LED fixtures have a narrow distribution that allows for efficient illumination of the building’s horizontal elements with minimal spill light. The long useful life of the LED light sources allowed for installation in areas that would be too difficult to maintain using lights sources that require frequent replacement. Color consistency and controllability were crucial to tune the building's façade and surrounding environment. Color Kinetics LED lighting solutions met these specific requirements, and thus were selected for the installation.

To achieve the exterior lighting goals, a single eW Blast Powercore was placed in each window bay on the north side of the building, articulating the four story vertical window slots and cornice. On three sides of the building, a single eW Graze Powercore luminaire was placed in each window, creating a rhythm of lighted arches. eW Graze Powercore luminaires were also mounted in continuous rows atop the second-floor cornice to reveal architectural details that were previously obscure.

In addition to the white lighting, four color-changing C-Splash 2 submersible spotlights were affixed to each of the lion's head fountains in front of the building - adding a burst of color to this mostly-white installation.

Inside the building, designers mounted a single eW Graze Powercore luminaire in each arched opening in the Great Hall to illuminate the arches and to spill light into the second-floor cornice above them. eW Fuse Powercore luminaires were concealed within the lobby's cornice to provide upward illumination at the entrance.

Other Color Kinetics products installed inside of the library included Ledalite Vergee fixtures, Allscape fixtures, and QL Induction products — making this a complete Color Kinetics installation.

La Fuente and Andert's top-of-the-line lighting scheme highlights the older, classic architecture of the building, while using new and cutting-edge technology, ensuring that the library will never fade into darkness.
Project credits

Lighting Designers:

Steve Andert, Mark de la Fuente, Larry Patrick, Bill Shaw (William Tao & Associates)

Lynn Grossman (Cannon Design)

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